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Give Your Plants Room to Grow

By Joe Sherinski

For News USA

(NUI) - Is your plant outgrowing its home? For beautiful, healthy container plants, it's essential to repot your plant annually.

Over time, two things happen to your plants. One is that the soil, or potting medium, gets "tired" and loses essential nutrients. The second is that a plant's roots will continue to grow, taking up more and more space in the pot. As this happens, the plant becomes "root-bound," which means the roots either begin to grow out of the drainage holes or become brown and unhealthy at the bottom.

The combination of a decomposing potting medium and cramped quarters inevitably leads to an unhealthy environment for the plant.

Repotting should be done once a year, preferably in the early spring or early fall, and it's best to repot plants only when they are between flowering cycles.

To repot a plant:

1. Select a new container that is a size larger than the original one, with drainage holes. A pot too large can lead to overwatering.

2. If the pot has been used previously, use water mixed with a little bit of bleach to kill harmful organisms. Clay pots should be soaked overnight and then washed to remove the white fertilizer salts around the insides.

3. Fill one-third of the new pot with premium potting soil, like Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This potting mix contains Aquacoir, a mixture of coconut fibers, sphagnum peat moss and a wetting agent, that absorbs excess water and releases it gradually to the roots as the plant needs it. Repotting in the spring with Moisture Control will help protect your container gardens against summer's drought conditions to promote bigger, more beautiful blooms.

4. Remove the plant from the old pot. Next, gently shake off the old potting soil or mix from the root mass. If the roots are tightly wound, gently slice the sides of the root ball in two or three places.

5. Insert the plant into its new pot. Make sure the crown of the plant is about an inch below the top of the pot. This allows space for adding sufficient water, and it eliminates spills. To finish, fill in around the sides of the root ball with your potting medium and gently compress the mix as you fill in. Then, water the plant thoroughly to ensure that all areas in the root zone have been moistened and allow the plant to drain.

The "GardenPower With Joe Sherinski" television show is currently syndicated in 25 markets across the country. To learn more about gardening, send your questions to askjoe@garden power.com. You must include your city and state.

EDITOR'S NOTE: APRIL 6 IS NATIONAL "REPOT YOUR PLANT DAY."

Copyright© 2003 NewsUSA - www.newsusa.com



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